Mumbai- Top-notch corporate lawyer Janhavi Gadkar, who rammed her Audi Q3 into a taxi on the Eastern Freeway early Tuesday morning killing two persons, was so drunk that she fell asleep at the police station after she was arrested and the cops could record her statement only six hours after the incident.

Janhavi, a senior vice-president (legal) at Reliance Industries, rode almost the entire length of the freeway on the wrong side and narrowly missed colliding with at least two cars before crashing into the taxi which was carrying a Bhendi Bazaar family of five returning from a party in Bhiwandi – a celebration for the success of the youngest of its three children Numan Sabuwala, 16, in SSC exams.

The two killed were Numan’s father Samim Sabuwala, 50, and the taxi driver Sayed Husain, 45. Numan’s sisters Salma, 22, and Sabiya, 20, and their mother Nafisa, 45 were injured. They were first treated at Sion Hospital before being moved to Saifee Hospital in south Mumbai. While Numan was discharged after first-aid, his sisters and mother have sustained serious injuries.

Janhavi, who had to be extricated from her badly mangled car, was returning to her residence in Chembur from a dinner with a colleague at Hotel Marine Plaza on Marine Drive. Sources at the hotel, who did not wish to be identified, said she had six pegs of whiskey and the two ran up a bill of Rs 6,000.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Sangramsingh Nishandar confirmed that preliminary investigations have revealed that Janhavi was drunk. “The information that she got on to the Freeway on the wrong side and drove nearly 11 km has been corroborated by two eye-witnesses. Her blood samples have been sent for testing,” he said.

A student of St. Colubmia Girls High School in Gamdevi, Janhavi, 32, graduated from University of Warwick in England 2004 in international economic law. She worked with law firms like Wadia Ghandy & Co, and was a managing associate at Talwar Thakore and Associates before joining Reliance. At Talwar Thakore, Janhavi assisted Suresh Talwar and Feroz Dubash on the HSBC’s takeover of RBS in 2010.

The police’s star witness is a Swift driver, who narrowly missed colliding into Janhavi’s car near the Masjid Bandar end of the freeway. He took a u-turn after getting off the freeway and began chasing the red Audi. However, before he could catch up with Janhavi’s car, the collision near the Panjarpol tunnel had taken place. The Swift driver, whose identity the police have not revealed, has given the cops the entire sequence of events.

Another eye-witness Hasan Khan said the collision was so intense that the fire-brigade had to bring in special equipment to cut open the taxi to get the victims out. “I was on my way to Chembur with my family when I heard a loud bang on the other side of the road. I stopped my car and saw that a red car had collided with a black-and-yellow taxi.”

Hasan walked to the other side of the road and saw tried to help the injured in the taxi. “But it was impossible get the victims out because the taxi was smashed nearly halfway to its rear seats,” he said.

Hasan dropped his family home and returned to the accident site to find the fire brigade cutting open the rear of the cab. He later went to the RCF police station and recorded his statement.

Janhavi, who has been booked under Section 304 (II) of the IPC for culpable homicide and faces a maximum ten years in jail, could not recall anything about the accident. She has also been charged under section 279 of IPC for rash and negligent driving.

Her last memory, a police officer said, was of getting on to the freeway. While she was brought to the police station at around 2 am, she fell asleep and woke up only around 7.30 am. “She began crying when she realised she was at a police station. She also complained of severe headache. Her statement was eventually recorder at around 9 am,” the officer said.

The cops have sought CCTV footage from both inside and outside Hotel Marine Plaza. They will also gather recordings of cameras on P D’mello Road and the freeway. “We will also record the statement of Janhavi’s male colleague who was with her at the hotel,” DCP Nishandar said. The statements of the hotel’s bartender and waiter will also be recorded.

Janhavi has remanded in police custody for a day. The police in her remand application have said that she may have been involved in drink drive incident just a few days back.


10 pm
Janhavi Gadkar reaches Marine Plaza hotel in South Mumbai

12.40 am
She leaves the hotel in her Audi Q3, after having consumed six pegs of whiskey

12.55 am
She climbs up the Eastern Freeway, on the wrong side

12.58 am
She narrowly misses two cars, both Maruti Swift, near Dockyard Road

12.58 am
The driver of one of the cars, who is now a primary prosecution witness, exits the freeway at Dockyard Road and turns his vehicle around to follow Janhavi. The Audi proves too quick for him. He drives in pursuit, regardless

1.10 am
Gadkar ploughs into a taxi, driven by Sayed Hussain, carrying the Sabuwala family, near Panjarapole tunnel

1.20 am
The driver of the Maruti Swift reaches the scene of the accident

1.30 am
Bystanders poke holes in the inflated airbags of the Audi and extract Gadkar from the vehicle

1.45 am
Gadkar is driven to RCF police station, in Chembur

2.15 am
Gadkar falls asleep in the women’s cell

6.45 am
Gadkar wakes up, realises she’s in a police station and breaks down. She complains of a hangover. According to the police, her last recollection is of entering the freeway from P D’Mello Road, on the wrong side of the ramp

9.30 am
The police record her statement

How the grisly accident unfolded

1 Janhavi Gadkar had six drinks at Hotel Marine Plaza, according to the police. She reached the Eastern Freeway via P D’ Mello Road, before taking an abrupt right at Wadi Bunder, after which — the police said — she climbed on the wrong side.

2 She drove on the wrong side for 11 kilometres, narrowly missing several oncoming vehicles on the way. One of them, now the police’s star witness, got off the Freeway and turned back in an attempt to catch up with the drunk Gadkar.

3 But the police said Gadkar was doing more than 100 kph and had sped off before he could catch up with her. By the time he reached the Panjarpole end, the accident had already happened. The impact was so bad, the cars were fused.

4 Passersby had to puncture the airbag to extricate Gadkar from the driver’s seat. Rescuers had to cut off the front of the taxi to recover the body. Eyewitnesses said she could barely stand. Police said she fell asleep on reaching the station.


Contents taken with thanks from Mumbai Mirror dated 10.06.2015. Reported by Dharmendra Tiwari.

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